Your elevator speech: pitch-perfect with practice

In my worst nightmare, I’m running as hard as I can, but not actually getting anywhere. When I wake up, I’m usually sweating and I feel frustrated, perhaps a little scared, too. This is how I feel when somebody asks me for my elevator speech.

Does giving an elevator speech scare you? Practice to get comfortable delivering your elevator speech.I involuntarily react in one of two ways when it comes to elevator speeches. Either my mind starts racing, my heart rate increases, and I blurt out random facts about what I do, praying that they somehow coalesce in the word cloud above my head. Or, equally as mortifying, my mind and pulse start racing….and then there’s nothing. Winter white. This has actually happened to me, and it’s probably the most embarrassed I’ve ever been in my career. At least in the first scenario, I give people some words to take away. In the latter, I look like a complete rookie (which I’m not!).

The very kind and helpful Julia Rosien patiently listened to me flubber through an elevator speech and gently suggested that I work on it. Quite obviously, my delivery lacked focus and sounded repetitive. Being a diligent student, I thought about Julia’s advice and then started working on it as she suggested. I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned through this humbling process.

Time after time

A great elevator speech takes a lot of time to craft and perfect, and it also requires practice. The kind of practice that involves talking into a hairbrush in front of the mirror or using your dog as an audience. So pick up your brush (or phone, or spoon…don’t get stuck on this detail) and talk to whatever or whomever can spare 30 seconds.

Get rid of the kinks

Then – only after you’ve sufficiently worked out some kinks in your delivery (because there will be kinks….oh my, will there be kinks) – only then should you bust out your elevator speech in low-risk situations with forgiving people. Once you’re comfortable there, move on to higher-risk situations with people you’ve just met. You may still flub it a little, or it may not come out as perfectly as you’ve rehearsed, but it will feel a heck of a lot more natural and have less of a negative impact on potential business and professional relationships.

It ain’t done ’til…

How do you deliver a great elevator speech? Practice!If you think you’re done once you’ve nailed down your pitch, the slightly evil and unpalatable truth about elevator pitches is that they will never really be done (kind of like laundry). As you figure out what you like or could do better from one pitch delivery to another, you can (should) continue to tweak your elevator speech. Your speech will likely (should) change and evolve as your career develops.

The moral of the story is: Practice and work at your pitch to make it excellent, and don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t work out as you’d like right away, or even after 10 tries. Learn and move on.

To demonstrate, I’m offering my own journey as a cautionary tale/road map to (hopefully) help you see the benefit of practicing. I’ve cut together some takes (and outtakes) from my elevator speech practice sessions here in this video:

If you see this and you’re interested in talking to me about your experiences, or if you need someone to listen to your speech, message me below or through social media! I’m on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Trackbacks

  1. […] you read my recent post about practicing your elevator speech into perfection, you may start to wonder if I have an issue about speaking in public or when I’m being […]

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